Philadelphia Employment Law News

September 2011 Archives

FMLA Eligibility Requirements for Philadelphia Employees

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows qualified employees to take up to 12 weeks off work for certain medical conditions. The FMLA is one of the most used leaves of absence and probably one of the most misunderstood as well. While some workers may be entitled to take the time off, your case may be different as FMLA eligibility requirements are fact-specific.

First, eligibility for FMLA depends on the size of your employer. If you work for a small business with less than 50 employees, you’re probably not eligible to take the leave — regardless of the severity of your medical condition. Providing 12 weeks of leave may be a burden for small employers, and Congress made the law applicable only to larger employers with 50 or more workers.

EEOC Brings dELiAs Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit

The Equal Employment Opportunity (EEOC) has sued teen clothing retailer dELiA*s for employment discrimination at its store in Lehigh Valley Mall. In the dELiA*s pregnancy discrimination lawsuit, the EEOC claims that the retailer forced one pregnant woman to take a leave of absence and fired another pregnant woman for complaining about discrimination.

Two pregnant employees were allegedly harassed by management after they told managers about their respective pregnancies, says the EEOC. The harassment included constantly questioning them about their ability to do their jobs, and requiring one of the women to obtain medical documentation showing that she could perform her job.

Philadelphia Unemployment and Tips to Get a Job

More depressing news on Philadelphia unemployment: The U.S. Census Bureau released figures last week showing that one in three people in their 20s were unemployed nationwide. And in Philadelphia, the numbers were far worse, with almost half of 20-somethings not working, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.

While there may be a lot of explanations for the unemployment figures -- from the banking crisis to the sense of entitlement sometimes perceived (fairly or not) in younger people -- the fact of the matter is that young people are not working.

Fired! Know Your Employee Termination Rights

A lot of employees are being fired or laid off during these tough economic times. While this is an unfortunate time, those losing their jobs should know they are entitled to certain employee termination rights.

The following is a list of a few of the most important.

  • Receiving Your Final Paycheck. Regardless of whether you are fired, laid off, or if you quit, you must receive your final paycheck by your next scheduled payday. However, if you have contractual agreement that states otherwise, that may take precedence.

Philadelphia Catholic School Strike Ends

The strike "was never about the money," said Catholic Teachers union president Rita Schwartz. Only God knows if Schwartz is right, but the Philadelphia Catholic school strike finally ended with the teachers receiving the raises they fought so hard to achieve.

At the start of the school year, the Catholic school teachers went on strike after failing to reach an agreement with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia on a new contract. The two sides fought over job security, working conditions, and of course money, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Philadelphia School Employees Lose Health Benefits w/o Notice

Two hundred Philadelphia school employees lose health benefits, and no one told them about it.

This spring, the district and school employees union negotiated a new contract that removed health benefit coverage for the affected workers effective September 1, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer. Unfortunately, no one from either the union or the school district bothered to tell the affected employees.

Safer Workplace After SEPTA Bus Driver Attacks?

Imagine if once a week at your job, you or your colleagues were subject to a violent criminal attack. Doesn't seem very pleasant, and you'd probably demand work changes, or find a new job.

However, that is the reality that SEPTA bus drivers in Philadelphia have to deal with. Almost twice a week, a SEPTA bus driver is assaulted while on the job. So far there have been 50 attacks this year, reports the Philadelphia Daily News.

Catholic School Strike: Archdiocese of Philadelphia Schools

Which side is God on? The Archdiocese of Philadelphia schools is involved in a bitter fight with its lay teachers leading to a Catholic school strike just as the school year begins.

The strike by the Catholic high school teachers against the archdiocese has lasted a week, and so far no progress has been made in resolving their issues, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer. The strike affects 711 lay teachers in the archdiocese's 17 high schools. The 16,000 students who attend the Catholic high schools are currently on a modified schedule as they are instructed by school administrators and members of the religious order filling in for the striking teachers.

Carl Greene Retaliation Claim Dropped

A federal judge dropped the retaliation claim brought against Carl Greene stating that the plaintiff, former Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) employee Moneke Thomas, did not show enough evidence to support her claim against her former boss.

During his ten-year run as head of PHA, Greene has basically been accused of running the agency like a frat-house, subjecting woman to verbal and physical sexual harassment. In 2008, Thomas filed a sexual harassment complaint against Greene and ultimately settled for $350,000, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer. Thomas was just one of four women to have sued Greene in unrelated instances, costing the city over a million dollars to settle the lawsuits.

Hiring Independent Contractors Newest Trend for Employers

More and more companies are hiring independent contractors to meet their staffing needs as opposed to hiring permanent employees.

In the last decade, employers have suffered two major setbacks -- the dot-com bubble bursting and the real estate recession -- that have required them to cut staff and make unpleasant termination decisions, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer. Looking to avoid being burnt a third time, companies are now hiring non-employees, or independent contractors, to perform the work previously done by full-time employees.

Top 3 Ways to Avoid Hiring Practices Discrimination

Under President Obama’s watch, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has stepped up its enforcement of equal opportunity laws.

The EEOC has hired new staff and strengthened agency programs that investigate and litigate Philadelphia discrimination cases. Particularly, the EEOC has devoted its resources into looking at hiring practices discrimination, reports Business Management Daily. And the fruit of the EEOC’s increased efforts have been produced a record 99,922 charges of discrimination in 2010.

Lesson Not Learned: Blogging Teacher Continues to Blog

Natalie Munroe, the Central Bucks High School East teacher who made national headlines for her blog criticizing students and school administration, returned to work this week. The blogging teacher returned to work following a disciplinary hearing in July and reported no problems on her first day back.

Still, one may wonder how long the attention-getting Munroe will remain on the job, as she continues to blog, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.